Modesto's top cop often out of town

Modesto Police Chief Roy Wasden was the city's frequent flier for the first half of 2007.

He attended 25 days of out-of-town conferences, lobbying sessions and training events between January and June.

His itinerary emerges today at the City Council's Audit Committee, which meets a few times a year to check Modesto's books and review travel summaries.

Of the 19 officials who submitted reports, the next three on the travel-day list are:

  • Public Works Director Nick Pinhey, who stayed up on the latest water trends at three conferences and met with the Regional Water Quality Control Board in Sacramento -- 12 days.
  • Deputy Public Works Director Firoz Vohra attended several planning and transportation conferences -- 11 days.
  • Chief Information Officer Gary Cook visited companies that submitted bids for a new 911 dispatch system and went to two technology conferences -- 11 days.
  • Wasden proved himself a thrifty traveler. Law enforcement agencies reimbursed the city more than $2,500 for the conferences he attended. That dropped the city's bill to slightly more than $3,300.

    That's a little more than half of what it cost Cook to check out the contractors and attend the training conferences.

    Some Wasden trips were to lobby for federal or state funding, such as his March trip to Washington, D.C., with a delegation of city and county leaders. He also was a featured speaker in January in Washington at the FBI's Law Enforcement Executive Development Seminar.

    "It comes with years in the law enforcement arena," he said. "You just end up with a lot of opportunities and contacts, and they want to know how we're handling things."

    The Audit Committee will meet at 10 a.m. in Room 2008 of Tenth Street Place, 1010 10th St.

    Bee staff writer Adam Ashton can be reached at aashton@modbee.com or 578-2366.